In these dark woods, many schlocky movies were once made. It was universally agreed that they were mostly rubbish, but they did sell well enough to a certain market and many wild drug fuelled parties were enjoyed in the making of the low budget horror flicks.
After the discovery of a body in the former-filmset woods, a case once investigated by former Detective Inspector John Rebus now has the benefit of fresh eyes. The deceased, private investigator Stuart Bloom was once a thorn in the side of locals and the initial extensive search and questioning of local businessmen and landowners had not ten years ago produced any results for Rebus or his team. In the present day, a body turning up in an area that had already been searched at the time of the disappearance indicates to D.I. Siobhan Clarke that mistakes may have been made in the original investigation.
So we are rolling along with all the old gang (though the lovely wee dog is relatively new); Rebus, heir apparent Siobhan Clarke, Malcolm Fox, Big “Ger” Cafferty etc. There’s a huge comfort in the familiarity of seeing the same people in each outing, though you do wonder how much longer Rebus’s involvement in current police investigations can be justified or explained away. Cafferty, who seemed to be beginning to slide into the background in series priors, appears to have found his mojo again IN THIS HOUSE OF LIES. Very curious to see what will happen with Cafferty’s empire, and as to what tolerance level the ‘newer guard’ will have with Cafferty’s possible criminal resurgence.
All Rebus’s street contacts are still there, as is the snappy dialogue, the pithy observations and the uncanny ability of Rebus to insert himself into police investigations that interest him in retirement. It is a credit to Rankin that he manages to pepper his series with both old characters and new and its not a hard task for the average reader to keep all of them straight, even with the characteristically complex plotting that Rankin is a master of.
IN THIS HOUSE OF LIES features all the trickery we expect from an Ian Rankin crime novel and is quite likely the best possible way a crime fiction reader can choose to while away a few hours. Each encounter with John Rebus continues to be a rewarding one and the novels have evolved with the times. Police procedurals seem to have slipped a little as market dominators and they need to navigate constant social and cultural changes, many of which may challenge the traditional constructs of works of this type. That graduation has been a skilful and subtle process in the hands of Ian Rankin. Fans will already have snapped this up and if there is anyone out there new to the Rebus series, it won’t be a problem to dive right in with this twenty second novel featuring Scotland’s finest.
Long may Rebus reign.